Flying Angel Campaign raises £600k to fund COVID-19 response

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More than eighteen maritime organisations have generously donated a combined £600,000 to The Mission to Seafarer’s Flying Angel Campaign to help address the severe welfare issues facing seafarers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Mission to Seafarers has successfully reached its £600,000 target, which will deliver a range of significant benefits to seafarers. These donations are already funding projects to provide equipment and support where it is most needed. This includes the adaptation of Seafarers Centres to meet local regulations to ensure they can once again welcome seafarers when they are permitted to take shore leave, the provision of Mi-Fi units (mobile WiFi) in Australia, and a food bank programme supporting 600 seafarers’ families in Tuticorin, India and much more.

In recognition of the long-term impact of the pandemic, the Mission is responding with the creation of a new fund to help provide long-term support over the next 18 months. As an extension of the Flying Angel Campaign, the Sustainability Fund will help sustain the Mission’s Advocacy & Welfare programmes as well as its global operations for 2020 and 2021, ensuring that vital frontline services are maintained to serve seafarers.

The sponsors of the Flying Angel Campaign have donated significant sums to ensure support is being delivered to seafarers now, making a real difference where it is most urgently needed. The current sponsors of the Flying Angel Campaign are:

Platinum sponsors: Seafarers UK, Grimaldi Foundation, David Pellatt, BW Group

Gold sponsor for Safe Seafarers Centres: TCC Group

Gold sponsors: Grindrod Shipping, DNV GL

Silver sponsors: Marine Society, Clearwater Marine Foundation, Trinity House, Standard Club, Stena RoRo with Brittany Ferries, Skuld

Bronze sponsors: UK P&I Club, Dynacom, Bernhard Schulte Group, Ardmore Shipping with Thome, V.Group

Andreas Sohmen-Pao, Chairman of BW Group, commented, “The Mission to Seafarers plays an important role, which has only become more critical in a pandemic. The industry is fortunate to have an organisation that is helping with both practical measures and mental health at a time of stress for our team members.”

Edward Koo, Executive Managing Director, Fleet Management & Operations of TCC, said, “Since the start of this pandemic, people’s lives and routines around the world have been turned upside down. But for the seafarers, their fundamental reality has become distorted indefinitely. Today, whenever a seafarer commits to joining a vessel, he has quietly accepted the fact that he does not know when he will come home. National lockdowns, limited flights, and unreasonable medical verification demands have made it all but impossible for efficient embarkation/disembarkation of seafarers. Our lives on shore have maintained a semblance of normalcy throughout this pandemic: supermarket shelves are still stocked with ripened fruits and vegetables, residential lights and air conditioning stay on through the peak of the summer heat, gas stations still have the expected grades of diesel and unleaded gasoline, the promise of a vaccine remains hot in the news. But at what expense? We have taken for granted that the luxury of consumer choice, of utilities power, of fuel for our automobiles, of raw chemicals for the potential mass manufacturing of medicines, has only been made possible because of the labour of seafarers in charge of transporting seven billion metric tons of cargo (raw and finished goods) around the world safely every year. What we owe these seafarers isn’t just our gratitude and respect, but our acknowledgement that without their dedication and sacrifice, our lives would have no chance of ever going back to normal. This lack of awareness and visible support for seafarers is perhaps the greatest silent disaster of this global pandemic.”

Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, Maritime CEO, DNV GL added, “We are very grateful for the opportunity to support The Mission to Seafarers who in these unprecedented times are giving crucial aid to seafarers still badly impacted by the pandemic. The ongoing crew change crisis shows that international problems need international solutions. In the absence of global leadership from heads of state to resolve the crisis, the work of the Mission has never been more needed.”

The Revd Canon Andrew Wright, Secretary General for The Mission to Seafarers, said, “We are extremely grateful for the generosity of our supporters. As concern grows over the severe impact of the pandemic on the welfare of seafarers and their families, reaching our target of £600K is already making a very meaningful difference. Our thanks go out to all those donating to our cause and giving help and hope to our seafarers during these dark times. With the launch of our Sustainability Fund, we are also now looking to the long term, as it is clear that the pandemic will not be eradicated overnight. Alongside emergency assistance where it is most needed, we need to act now to adapt our services to manage the long-term impact and consequences of COVID-19 on our seafarers for the remainder of 2020 and 2021.”

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